It was a week of adventuring in company with some old companions, from the Games of Kan-Ban-Tun to Gleen of the Seventeen Pillars, to the home of the Archmage Mirrilee in the Southern Oceans, to the dreadful underground laboratory of the mad, dead Archmage Septral, creator of Monsters.
I drew an unfeasibly number of campaign pictures, which I shall now inflict on anyone foolish enough to click the cut. Warning! Some of them are quite bad, and some feature people without clothes. There are nipples! If your workplace *really* has issues with smudgy badly-drawn charcoal nipples, then personally I think that is utterly ridiculous and I would click just in order to make a statement about the absurdity, but YMMV.
You can click to see larger versions if you so desire.
Firstly we met the Paramond of Gleen, in her splendid pavilion. I quite like the pavilion, but her hands are awful. I need to find some way of drawing detail in pastel pictures, I definitely have not got there yet.
Here we all are in Gleen. Gleen was mostly being played by Crete, only I added some extra towers to represent some of the Seventeen (or was it Eighteen?) Pillars of Gleen. I really like Tarvin in this, he is the very tall, very thin, ugly person towards the left. Tarvin's character statistics are completely in keeping with this portrait, and I think I've also managed to give it a faint air of the player as well, even though he is not in person outstandingly tall, thin or ugly.
A Gleen closeup. My character Keae is the little one with the spiky hair next to the left-hand goat. The goats are not mine. They are strangely attracted to the badly-drawn mage on the right, Note that tall, ugly Tarvin is standing next to Palug the hairy barbarian.
This is an outtake really - while we were travelling, one of our mages fireballed a poor unsuspecting seamonster. I like the colours of the seamonster, even if he does look a bit goofy.
Some people insisted on tumbling along dungeons in order to avoid traps. I am unclear about exactly how this is supposed to work, but am quite pleased with the feeling of motion. This is Tarvin and Palug again. It hadn't occurred to me at this point that I kept drawing them together.
Tarvin slays a water-monster. This looked SO MUCH better in my head, but I refuse to re-draw it - the point of these pics is that they are supposed to be quicky one-offs and some of them won't work... Pastels! Why can't you be more like charcoal???
Some Athaks! These almost wiped us out. Arguably, I should have added some party members to this picture, being trampled underfoot. It must be really hard to swing three clubs without conking yourself one on the bonce.
This lovely object is the Perambulating Pavilion of Pligdill. It walks around on ostrich legs, and the inside of it is in another dimension and has its own toilet! I want one.
In caverns measureless to man, down by a sunless sea - we set up our tent beside the handily-glowing waters, and mooched about a bit.
This was a wallpainting we found, of an Owlbear. The GM told me it was too cute. But it's a cross between an owl and a bear! How is that NOT going to be cute???
As the caption says, opening these was a...
Ah, hmm, yes. We went through a portal, and when we came out the other side, we had NO CLOTHES ON. Apart from me, because I was an albatross person, so could just go bird-shape and stay warm in my feathers.
In the picture below, you can see me in albatross form, desperately trying to protect the modestly of the party.
Shall we have a closer look? I'm quite pleased with this : apart from the humour value, I think the drawing actually isn't bad. In this pic, Lychett on the right, with the very pert buttocks looking a bit like Jaime Lannister, is casting a light spell on a rock held by skinny, ugly Tarvin. The rather pleased gentleman in the middle is wearing a sentient turban, which survived the portal because it's a being rather than clothes.
Thankfully, we soon found some towels and were able to craft ourselves skirts. Then Palug the barbarian managed to get levitated and turned into a sort of Barbarian Balloon who had to be towed along on a rope. In this picture, I imagine the levitation didn't apply to his hair or skirt/loincloth. That's skinny Tarvin with his 1000 ribs holding the rope.
Among the chaos at the End of the Aeon, this happened to the mysterious powerful magical egg that Palug the tattooed barbarian had been carrying. Oddly, nobody complained this was too cute.
One thing that stood out about this campaign was that it was genuinely epic. I am not sure that I enjoyed this campaign as much as some others, BUT it really brought it home to me that Epics Are Not Fun When They Happen To You. They are like an elephant falling on your head, not like a jolly outing.
During the actual roleplaying, it seemed a lot of the time as though we were trudging along through towns or catacombs, solving puzzles, making jokes, all fairly mundane stuff. Several of the participants were (in real life) tired, ill and/or stroppy, and this made a normally fairly argumentative group particularly fractious. At the end, disasters multifarious befell, including a whopping great invisible dragon, a Comet of Ultimate Evil and a rain of dragon eggs.
And suddenly, it all made sense. If we had been a genuinely united party with a single purpose and an ability to trust one another's decisions and capabilities, we *might* have got to the end and been able to work together to enlist the help of the three very powerful mages we found there and get everyone working together to do something to prevent the Change of the World. And even if it hadn't worked, we'd have felt we'd have worked together and given it a really good go. But we were not united, we didn't trust each other, we were constantly bickering and bitching and getting bored and wandering off to try another door - and therefore, of course the end was catastrophic. As the party tore itself apart, all the mages died or were entombed, and the rest of us were left stuck in a changed world with an empty feeling of having been kicked in the gut.
If you were writing it as an author, people would probably write appreciative reviews about how the divisions within the party were fleshed out and grew organically over the entire course of the work. It was all very interesting. It felt a little like the end of Beowulf, or the point in the Silmarillion where the Valar intervene against Morgoth (only of course we failed to request help from the Valar) : another player thought of Götterdämmerung. I bet Götterdämmerung didn't seem like much fun at the time.